National: Rep. Jim Cooper to propose ‘right to vote’ amendment to U.S. Constitution | The Tennessean

Convinced that the right to vote for all citizens isn’t fully protected under law, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, is planning a long-shot proposal to add a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. “What it would do is grant for the first time in American history a constitutional right to vote,” Cooper said Wednesday after announcing the proposal at a Nashville Bar Association luncheon during a strikingly personal speech that evoked race, discrimination and equality. “Many people think we have this already,” he said. “We do not. Some states have a right to vote. But we do not have it nationwide.”

National: FEC Commissioners All Serving Expired Terms Now | Huffington Post

All five sitting commissioners at the Federal Election Commission are now serving expired terms, while the sixth seat remains unfilled since a commissioner retired on Feb. 1, 2013. FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter’s term expired on Tuesday. Until their replacements are confirmed by the Senate, FEC commissioners are permitted to stay on. Former Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly resigned her post in February long after her own term had expired. President Barack Obama has not successfully appointed a single new commissioner to the FEC. In 2010, his lone appointee withdrew during a contentious confirmation process. Obama’s failure to name commissioners has been a sore point for campaign finance reformers, who sent a blistering letter to the White House on Monday excoriating the president for not pushing hard enough to reform the nation’s system of campaign funding.

Editorials: Make companies disclose political spending | USAToday

Three years ago, when the Supreme Court opened the door to unlimited political donations by corporations, Justice Anthony Kennedy made the case for transparency as the best way to keep politics clean. Thanks to the power of the Internet, Kennedy wrote in the landmark Citizens United decision, “shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.” Alas, the world he described does not exist. Citizens and shareholders can’t make these determinations because they lack the basic information to do so.

Editorials: Who’s Sorry Now? | Linda Greenhouse/New York Times

Back when Sandra Day O’Connor was still on the Supreme Court, busy saving affirmative action and the right to abortion, liberals who wanted a reason to forgive her vote in Bush v. Gore often asked me — begged me — to assure them that Justice O’Connor was sorry. No, she’s not, I would reply, anticipating the heartbroken expressions my words always evoked. It seemed to me that this was a woman who looked forward, not back, and who never wasted energy on regret. So now it turns out that the retired justice, just past her 83rd birthday, does have second thoughts about Bush v. Gore and, more to the point, is willing to express them.

Colorado: On Hot-Button Election-Reform Bill, It’s Gessler Versus the Clerks | The Colorado Independent

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler arrived late to testify at the Senate committee hearing, but he came prepared. A practiced courtroom lawyer, he began slowly. He threw in folksy asides. He answered his own rhetorical questions. And he smiled at the majority-Democratic committee members as he railed against the election-reform bill they all support and that he wants desperately to derail. It was a dramatic moment in Colorado politics that had been building since Gessler took office two years ago.

Voting Blogs: Sixth Circuit Says Michigan was Right to Keep Gary Johnson Off the 2012 Ballot | Ballot Access News

On May 1, the Sixth Circuit issued a brief opinion, saying the U.S. District Court in Michigan was correct when it kept Gary Johnson, or any other Libertarian Party presidential candidate, off the ballot in November 2012. The part of the decision on the merits is only one short paragraph long, and does not discuss the factual error in the U.S. District Court’s decision. The U.S. District Court had said in its original opinion that John B. Anderson had not appeared on the 1980 Michigan Republican presidential primary ballot, so the precedent created when Anderson appeared as a minor party presidential nominee in November was not relevant. Later the District Court amended its opinion to acknowledge the error, but did not then re-think the conclusion.

New York: State considers early voting system | NCPR

The state’s Attorney General and Assembly Speaker have proposed an early voting system for New York that they say can improve voter participation and democracy. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman teamed up to press for New York to join 32 other states and allow early voting. Speaker Silver says the state has a dismal record for voter participation, ranking near the lowest in the nation. He says reasons for the failure to vote range from disruption after last fall’s Superstorm Sandy, to conflicting work or school schedules. He says an extended period of time to vote could help fix that. “Our legislation would enable New Yorkers to cast their ballots on any day during a fifteen day period before a general election,” said Silver, who said primary voting would be extended to eight days.

North Carolina: Prepare for a Special Election in the Craziest-Shaped Congressional District in the Country | National Journal

President Obama’s decision to tap Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency ensures that, if confirmed, he will be playing a pivotal role in housing policy. But it also spotlights the awkwardly shaped congressional district he will be vacating, one of the most gerrymandered in the country. The district was originally drawn to connect scattered African-American precincts in towns from Gastonia 160 miles south to Raleigh-Durham. It now covers a smorgasbord of disconnected metropolitan areas, including parts of the cities of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Lexington, Salisbury, and High Point.

North Carolina: Voter ID one step closer to become state law | Smithfield Herald

The state House last Wednesday passed a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls in 2016.
House Republicans pushed through the measure, saying the public demanded more stringent ballot security at polling places – that voter fraud was more prevalent than thought and that in a modern, mobile society, fewer election officials personally know voters. “Our system of government depends upon open and honest elections,” said Rep. David Lewis, a farm-equipment dealer from Dunn and a Republican. “Having people prove who they say they are as a condition of voting makes sense and guarantees that each vote is weighted equally and cumulatively determines the outcome of elections.”

Cameroon: Ruling party wins Senate election | Associated Press

The party of Cameroon’s entrenched ruler Paul Biya won 56 of the 70 contested seats in the nation’s first-ever senatorial election, the Supreme Court announced. Supreme Court President Alexis Dipanda Mouelle said Monday that Biya’s Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Party scored 73 percent of the vote, winning seats in eight of the country’s 10 administrative regions. The opposition Social Democratic Front received 17 percent, with 14 seats in just two regions. The opposition claimed vote-rigging but international observers said instances of vote-buying and intimidation were too few to change the overall outcome of the ballot. According to the constitution, the 80-year-old Biya, in power since 1982, gets to appoint the remaining 30 members of the legislative body, ensuring total control of the newly-created 100-seat Senate.

Canada: Elections Canada finds more than 165,000 voted improperly in 2011 | National Post

More than 165,000 people seem to have voted improperly in the last election, a new Elections Canada report has found, and the system for voting needs to be overhauled, although there isn’t enough time to do that before the next election. Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand commissioned the report after irregularities in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre led to a court challenge that went to the Supreme Court of Canada. Former Elections Canada executive Harry Neufeld audited 1,000 polls from the last election as well as three recent byelections, and discovered systematic errors in the processing of the 15 per cent of voters who show up on election day without having been registered.

Iran: Was Ahmadinejad arrested by the Revolutionary Guard? | Daily Mail

Reports have claimed that the Iranian President was arrested this week and warned against releasing information which could prove damaging to the country’s Islamic regime. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was allegedly held for seven hours by the Revolutionary Guard on Monday and told to back down with claims that the regime defrauded voters at the last general election and allegations of fraud against political rivals. According to WND.com, the President was returning from a book fair in Tehran when his security advisor was informed that he was requested to appear at the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei’s office on an urgent matter. But three other cars are said to have joined the President’s convoy and contact was lost between him and his security vehicles.

Kenya: Electoral Commission Criticized for Kenya Balloting Dispute | VoA News

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) has come under criticism after the Supreme Court confirmed the electoral victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta. But IEBC Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo says the criticisms are unjustified because the commission faced various challenges during the March general election. Critics say the IEBC oversaw a flawed voting process, which they contend led to an election dispute that was finally settled by the Supreme Court. They also said the electoral commission failed to adequately educate voters in the run up to the vote. Nzibo disagrees.